Parents accept payment of £ 185,000 to refused mother at 5pm for pickup at nursery
Parents hailed a court ruling in favor of a mother whose employer refused to let her finish earlier to pick her daughter up from nursery.
Estate agent Alice Thompson won £ 185,000 in an employment tribunal which ruled her former employer’s actions amounted to indirect sex discrimination.
Returning to work after having a baby in 2018, Alice requested a change in her work schedules, including finishing at 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. and working four days a week instead of five.
But her manager said they couldn’t afford to work part-time.
The court ruled that the failure to take flexible working into account disadvantaged Ms Thompson. She received the money for loss of earnings, loss of pension contributions, damage to feelings and interests.
We shared the details of the case on our Manchester Family Facebook page, where mothers told us working parents needed more flexibility and many shared their own stories of discrimination – or of being victims of a corporate “restructuring” that saw them jobless.
“Fantastic,” Helen Furbey said of the decision. “Too many times women are penalized in the workplace for having children or having to choose between their career or their family.”
“So many working mothers are discriminated against,” said Samantha Ellis-Hughes. “This has happened to me twice! All moms should fight for themselves.”
What do you think of the payment? Have you ever been refused flexible work? Do you think employers are improving to provide flexible work for parents? Let us know your perspective in the comments here.
Rachel Nolan said she too was forced to quit her job, saying: “When I tried to go back after I had my first I was told I could come back doing the same thing I did. ‘before or not at all. I went back then after Having my second child, I knew I couldn’t keep up with the same hours, so I didn’t even bother to have the conversation, I just stopped. No flexibility at all and it’s coming from a huge national company. “
Felicity Fleming added: “I agree that I asked to leave 15 minutes earlier at a previous job to come home to nursery, even though I worked every day during my lunch and was refused and my husband couldn’t make it. day. My current employers however are amazing. “
Danielle Ayres is an employment lawyer at Gorvins Solicitors, based in Stockport, and specializes in maternity discrimination and family rights.
She says the court ruling “shows the importance for employers to give real and appropriate attention to flexible work demands.”
“The way flexible work legislation is put in place means that it is often easy for employers to say ‘no’ – many take a holistic ‘no flexible work’ approach – and then give one “good reasons” to support their decision for refusing the request, such as “the adverse effect on the ability to meet customer demand” that the company has given here, “she said.
“The case highlights that it is simply not enough for employers to choose one of these reasons – instead, they must ask themselves if they can actually meet what is asked of them – by examining the role, team and responsibilities of the individual – and if not, consider all the alternatives they can propose to support the employee.
“Failure to do so can lead to not only discrimination complaints like this, but also constructive dismissal complaints which can be costly.”
Ms Thompson said she was motivated to pursue the legal challenge to spur change, saying, “How are moms supposed to have careers and families? It’s 2021, not 1971.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she said: “I have a daughter and I didn’t want her to have the same treatment in 20, 30 years when she’s in the workplace.”
She admitted that the case had “a huge financial cost” and that it was a risk that not all new parents are willing or able to take.
In cases of prejudice and discrimination, employees can bring these in while still employed, but in cases of wrongful and constructive dismissal, they must have quit their jobs in order to act. Ms Ayres says that in itself is a barrier for many parents, who find themselves accepting unfair terms because they can’t afford to be out of work.